Steve Borthwick issues warning to England players ahead of South Africa tour


Steve Borthwick insists England must “break the mould” technically and mentally if they are to make an impact on next month’s tour to South Africa.

Eddie Jones and his coaching lieutenants have been busy picking through the debris of their fifth-placed finish in the recent Six Nations.

It was England’s worst performance in the Championship since 1987, raising the prospect of an extended losing run given they enter the series against the Springboks on the back of three successive defeats.

There is an acceptance that changes must be made if they are to improve the nation’s record in South Africa having claimed only three wins in 13 Tests there dating back to 1972.

“We need to break the mould – we need to prepare differently and prepare better,” forwards coach Borthwick said.

“In a lot of ways we got some pretty good feedback from the Six Nations about what we need to change and what we need to work on.

“That has given us a help, given us great direction about what we need to do to face the challenge of this summer.

“We have got to do things differently, we have got to change what we have done previously and we have got to do things differently to what England teams have done before.

“We have never won a Test series in South Africa. If we do things the same as we have done before we will probably end up with the same results – and we have got to change.

“As ever, small things can be pretty significant. You make small changes and they have pretty profound effects.

“There are technical areas to talk about – we look at it this summer and we have a 23 per cent win rate in South Africa in Tests.

“We need to go with a different attitude and a different mindset.”

England appeared to have been left behind by some of their Six Nations rivals in some departments of the game, most notably at the breakdown where they suffered at the hands of Scotland and France.

It has prompted Jones to revise his opinion on the need for an openside in the more traditional fetcher mould.

“What we see in the game now will be different again a few months later,” Borthwick said.

“You always have to be looking ahead and see what’s going to happen in the future, not just in the next couple of months but after that.

“You also have to understand what players you have, what your strengths are. You don’t try to copy other teams because they have different strengths.

“The game is evolving and you can see that in the way the game is being played around the world right now.


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